Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

“This year was the biggest escalation I think anyone has seen,” said Susan Khazaeli, director of Action Sandy Hill. Photos: Tammy Miller-Sheehan / Delivered

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Several charges have been filed in connection with the party, attended by about 2,000 students

Many members of the Sandy Hill community are calling for an end to street partying in their home country after a party on Oct. 2 that led to more cases of criminal behavior.

About 2,000 students gathered on Russell Avenue between Templeton and Somerset streets to celebrate the Gee-Gees victory over Carleton University in the annual Panda Game. The street party is an annual event, though Sandy Hill residents have long rejected it.

“I would say that most of the residents who write for Action Sandy Hill have deep fears and reservations annually in the run up to the Panda game, and they expect the worst because that’s what history has shown them. They tend to go out of control. Of course, this year was the biggest escalation I think anyone has seen, ”said Susan Khazaeli, director of Action Sandy Hill (ASH), a community association designed to represent the interests of the neighborhood and its residents.

This year, the incident culminated in several cases of criminal conduct, including well-documented destruction of a vehicle parked on Russell Avenue and the assault on its owner. That was not what first-year economics student Greg Coleman expected when he sat down to participate in the student ritual.

“I expected this to be what usually happens outside of Tabaret or 90U every weekend: People drink, smoke, are a little loud and exchange social media,” he wrote in an email to Fulcrum. “What I actually found on Russell Ave was closer to a small riot.”

When Coleman arrived at Russell Avenue around 9 p.m., there was already a circle of police officers saying that movers should turn around and go home. He could see a group of students standing on top of the damaged vehicle.

“Up and down the street there were broken bottles, and there was a lot of rubbish in people’s front yard [and] on apartment stairs. “I saw a student hit an officer, but they were quickly taken away,” Coleman wrote.

Khazaeli added that residents had written to ASH to say that students attending the party had thrown branches and cans at homeowners who came out of their homes to tell attendees to leave their property.

A major cleanup was made by ASH, U of O’s varsity athletics and the city of Ottawa the following day. This cleanup is also an annual event.

Khazaeli says residents of the community have had enough.

“The vast majority of people in society [who] has written to ASH about the future of Panda Game supporting the permanent cancellation of Panda. A minority of people think that there might be a way to maintain Panda Game, but certainly they will not see these illegal street parties. There is no permit, they are not sanctioned in any way to ever happen in residential areas, ”she said.

Although ASH has not yet consulted with the university, Khazaeli said residents hope future homecoming parties can be held on campus.

On October 3, U of O President and Chancellor Jacques Frémont published a joint statement with Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs Jill Scott, assuring partners that parties like this are not characteristic of the university and urging students to “do better . ”

“We deeply regret the damage that has been done, as well as the fear and anxiety that these events caused you last night. Sandy Hill is our home, and you – its residents – are our valued neighbors. The actions of those who have respected our society so deeply concern us deeply, as they do for our society as a whole, ”reads the statement, which no longer issues any apologies.

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) “has identified all 10 people (shown in photos posted on October 4) and charged three people involved in accidents at Sandy Hill last Saturday night.”

OPS has released another 18 photos of people they hope to identify.

Khazaeli said she hopes all students who attended the party – not just those who attended the criminal incidents – will hold themselves accountable. “They should all have to think long and hard about the ways in which they have created a permissive environment,” she said.

Coleman says he is “disappointed, but not surprised” by the way the party developed. He hopes to attend an even more measured party in the future, but remains cynical about the future of the event.

“As for the street party,” Coleman wrote, “if I live in Sandy Hill, especially on Russell or Chapel – as many of my friends do – it does not seem like I have a choice.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to support the owner of the wrecked car, which was attacked by the people responsible for the damage. Click to donate here.

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